The Case for Flag Football As an Olympic Sport

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The Olympics are not like any other sporting opposition on the planet. For 16 days, over 300 occasions representing 35 sports and every USA on the earth compete to take home their prized medals, and I have regarded ahead to looking the Summer Olympics every four years considering that as a long way lower back as I can consider. But there’s usually been something lacking. One of the America most famous sports, and a top 10 game in the course of the arena, it looks as though address and flag football can be Olympic sports by the 12 months 2024, but difficulty limitations nevertheless remain for that to turn out to be a fact. First, we’re going to stroll via some reasons why the street to getting American Football blanketed into the Olympics has not been an easy journey, observed via why we accept as true with flag soccer to be the logical answer and preference as a future Olympic sport.


According to an article by using NFL.Com, the biggest logistical problems dealing with the game of American Football being covered within the Olympics are very similar to that of Rugby. With the huge numbers of members of each crew, the “gender equality” codecs where each man and women take part in each recreation, and the compressed three-week agenda that could be hard with a more physical sport like football and rugby. Furthermore, for American Football, the barrier to entry is excessive due to its value to equip all gamers with pads and gear and therefor has also been sluggish to undertake in lots of overseas countries, specifically of the poorer range.

Knowing all this, it is hard to look how both sports would be a good match for the Summer Olympics. Rugby is a lot like Soccer in that little or no is needed to play the game in phrases of equipment and exercise at it is a base degree, and has a far large worldwide following. This amongst other reasons has currently allowed Rugby to be cleared for the Olympics beginning in 2016 by using changing the conventional style to a much less conventional “sevens” format that is faster paced with much fewer humans, that can help carve a comparable path for American Football, or flag soccer extra specially.


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Even increasingly excessive faculty, university, and pro groups are starting to reduce the variety of touch practices, still sporting the likes of soft-padded headgear and shoulder pads for brought protection. But what if we could limit the touch gamers see before high college and center school while additionally addressing some of the worries for the game related to it being absolutely usual into the Olympics?There’s a variety of speak currently revolving across the protection of tackle soccer, and no longer simply inside the NFL wherein concussions are a primary difficulty. Starting as a long way back because the kid’s soccer stage, latest proof has surfaced assisting the concept that even quick of a concussion, repeated head affects and collision can show up in similar mind accidents later in life for kids tested among the long time of 8-13. Many researchers are suggesting children shouldn’t be gambling football in any respect, suggesting that kids’ heads are “a larger a part of their body, and their necks are not as strong as adults’ necks. So children may be at an extra chance of head and mind accidents than adults.”

As of 2015, research shows that flag football is the fastest growing adolescents sport inside the United States, greatly outpacing the increase of traditional tackle soccer. Many individual excessive colleges are making the transfer to flag soccer over the address, getting different colleges of their regions to follow fit developing prepared leagues and divisions. It’s even a formally recognized varsity game in many states, and with women in particular flag football is a way to allow simpler participation versus the bodily nature of address.And he’s no longer the simplest one. Recently Drew Brees was interviewed by using Peter King for NBC’s pregame display and had a few robust words on why he believes flag soccer is the answer. “I feel like flag football can store football,” Brees stated. Brees coaches his son’s flag football group, and played flag soccer himself via junior excessive, never playing address soccer until high school. “I feel like (flag soccer) is an outstanding introductory approach for a whole lot of children into soccer,” Brees mentioned. “Otherwise I feel it’s very clean to move in and feature an awful revel in early on and then now not want to ever play it again. I experience like after you put the pads on there are just so many different elements to the sport, and you are at the mercy of the instruct in loads of cases too. And to be honest, I don’t assume sufficient coaches are nicely-versed enough regarding the genuine basics of the game in particular while the pads go on on the children stage.” Many different seasoned athletes and coaches have expressed similar sentiments as nicely, singing praises for the game of flag football, and the rise in recognition of the sport echoes that.


Flag football is not a fluke or only a leisure development device that feeds into address soccer, it’s a full-fledged movement that has it’s own identity and reason and it’s time we recognized that distinction.

Internationally it is gaining recognition as properly, plenty quicker it seems than traditional American football where the barrier to entry is tons higher with the want for complete pads and gear. In Mexico for example, flag soccer is booming in recognition, in which maximum take into account it to be the #2 sport to soccer and remaining fast, with and expected 2.Five million children participating just on the elementary school stage. International teams are starting to make the experience to some of the extra famous American flag soccer tournaments, with representation from Panama, Indonesia, Bahamas, Mexico, Canada and more a common prevalence.

Everywhere you look, participation and hobby in the sports flag soccer are exploding.

At a grownup degree, it became a reporting year for the sport of flag soccer. New foremost tournaments are doping up the world over, seeing lots of teams competing across all age groups, codecs, and styles. Cash prizes had been at an all time excessive, predicted to eclipse over $a hundred,000 in team giveaways within the subsequent calendar 12 months. Sponsors have started out taking observe as nicely, with the likes of EA Sports, Nerf, Hotels.Com, Red Bull and other important manufacturers seeing the price and growth from flag football as a manner to successfully reach their audience in large numbers. Women’s participation is at an all-time excessive as properly, mirroring it’s reputation on the teens level, and is the desired format of play for American football in maximum Central to South American international locations.

So how does this all lead back to the Olympics and getting American soccer covered as a professional recreation? First, let’s review a bit history on where the sport stands nowadays with the International Olympic Committee or IOC.

Historically, In order to be protected into the Olympic games as an indication sport, you need to have an International Federation and feature held a World Championship opposition. This must take place not less than 6 years before a scheduled Olympic video games. The International Federation of American Football basically centered on address football, however, consists of the flag in its match lineup, met this trendy and became authorized in 2012, and gained provisional popularity in 2014. This may want to pave the manner for American football to be blanketed as a reputable recreation, and flag football as probably a field of said game, but the IFAF has on account that confronted setbacks due to alleged scandal, event mismanagement and misappropriation of price range that can not bode well for the inclusion of the sport quick term. Fortunately, in 2007, the IOC adopted a new, extra flexible rule set permitting applications to be up for assessment after each Olympics beginning in 2020, clearing a course for all sports activities to give their case for being covered by prevailing an easy majority vote.


For every way tackle football would not in shape the mold as a logical desire for the IOC, there may be flag football. Here are the top four reasons flag football ought to be taken into consideration to be protected as the subsequent Olympic game.

1. It’s Less Physically Demanding than Tackle Football


As we’ve already hooked up, flag soccer is a much safer opportunity than tackle football. Less hits and collisions identical fewer injuries, and flag soccer is already a validated fulfillment model that’s being praised for keeping the game for destiny generations. But when it comes to the Summer Olympic Games, protection is just one element of the bodily needs of the sport, considering you’ve got much less than a three week window to healthy in all stages of competition, and the yr-spherical hobby had to exercise and qualify. Imagine playing 6-7 complete touch soccer games with a restrained roster all inside a span of ~sixteen days, not to mention other possible qualifying events for the duration of the yr. For flag football, it’s not uncommon to play 6-7 video games in a weekend or sometimes even an afternoon, so the sport is more than ready for this fashion of match play.

2. International Flag Football Interest is Exploding

As noted above, that is a prime issue while determining whether a game is match to be taken into consideration, and at the same time as conventional American style address soccer is extraordinarily popular worldwide as well, flag soccer appeals to greater international locations. It’s a lower barrier to access as far as fee and gadget go, do not require complete period and striped soccer fields to participate, and is less difficult to maintain larger tournament competitions and leagues to encourage nearby interest.

3. It Requires Fewer Participants

Depending on which format could be used (our bet is both 5v5 or 7v7), flag football calls for a long way fewer individuals than conventional address football. Part of this is because of it being a much less bodily demanding game and the want for much less substitutions, and another component is due to needing much less specialist gamers, inclusive of kickers, punters, special groups, offensive lineman, and many others. Where every traditional address football group might probably carry 50+ competitors, flag soccer would want in all likelihood 15 players at maximum, slicing that wide variety to much less than a third. This is crucial because the Olympics cap their total contributors to 10,500 athletes and coaches. It additionally once more lets in greater nations to compete, especially poorer nations, in which fielding a smaller and much less financially traumatic crew coupled with the reasons above makes more feel.

Four. It’s Not Just a Men’s Sport

Gender equality is a first-rate emphasis for the IOC. The 2012 Summer Olympics marked the primary time all sports activities blanketed competing women in their category. Today, any new sport that is delivered to the Olympic Games ought to consist of both male and girl participants. For tackle football, there may be just no longer almost sufficient interest from ladies participators for it to make sense. While there are a few girl gamers, and even some female address football leagues and businesses, it simply would not fit the mould, specially with the alternative problems relating to physicality and barrier to access. For flag soccer this is not a hassle as certain above, with lady participation booming across the world.

So how will we take the following steps to experience the momentum of flag soccer immediately into the next to be had Olympic video games? The IFAF has already helped start the process of having the sport of American Football in the front of the IOC in latest years, however with their public issues and apparently no movement on the grounds that 2014 extra wishes to be accomplished to preserve moving ahead. What we do recognize is that flag soccer is being taken significantly in any respect tiers for clearly the first time in records, with major agencies making movements to get greater into the flag football space and the advent of bigger and more international occasions to gasoline the game. We consider that both on it’s own, or as a field of address football, flag soccer WILL be protected inside the Olympics at a few degree in the subsequent 10-20 years.

About the author / 

Shirley D. McCormick


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